By on September 23, 2016

2016 Mazda CX-9

Over the last two months, Mazda, that great tiny bastion of four-cylinder engines and SkyActiv and adding lightness, has sold more crossovers than cars in the United States.

Yes, that Mazda. The Mazda that had to rebadge Fords to bring its first two SUVs to market. The Mazda that, only four years ago, produced two-thirds of its U.S. sales with passenger cars.

Unfortunately, the gains now produced by Mazda’s CX crossover division aren’t enough to counteract the plunging sales of Mazda’s three remaining cars. As a result, Mazda’s U.S. market share is down to just 1.7 percent through 2016’s first eight months.

The good news for Mazda? Company bosses saw this coming. As part of a long-term strategy, Mazda is sticking to its guns, unwilling to overreact to disappointing short-term results with short-term fixes.

Mazda customer loyalty is poor. The company’s renewed focus on customer satisfaction does not result in overnight change.

For example, improving customer satisfaction requires improved resale values, which necessitates a cutback in sales to daily rental fleets, which decreases the brand’s total U.S. sales volume, giving the impression of sliding demand.

2016 Mazda CX-3 Red

Meanwhile, alliances with larger rivals are necessary for Mazda to move forward on the technical front. But such partnerships take time to breed results before they’re obvious to the outside world.

As a result, wrote Paul Eisenstein after a discussion with Mazda’s North American CEO Masahiro Moro, “it will take Mazda two complete generations of new vehicles to fully transform itself.”

Some transitions take place quicker than expected, however. It was only one year ago that Mazda’s Moro told Automotive News, “I wish that more than 50 percent of our total [U.S.] sales in two or three years be crossovers.”

12 months after that interview with Automotive News, Moro’s U.S. Mazda operations gleaned 53 percent of the brand’s sales from the CX-3, CX-5, and CX-9, the brand’s trio of crossovers.

8 mos.
8 mos.
Mazda 3
7,297 10,161 -28.2% 66,781 74,542 -10.4%
Mazda 6
4,006 5,402 -25.8% 31,810 42,550 -25.2%
Mazda MX-5 Miata
823 1,344 -38.8% 7,088 5,128 38.2%
Mazda 2
5 -100% 3 288 -99.0%
Mazda Passenger Cars
12,126 16,912 -28.3% 105,682 122,508 -13.7%
Mazda CX-5
10,612 10,033 5.8% 73,054 72,906 0.2%
Mazda CX-9
1,863 1,753 6.3% 7,787 12,601 -38.2%
Mazda CX-3
1,492 698 114% 12,493 698 1,690%
Mazda Crossovers
13,967 12,484 11.9% 93,334 86,205 8.3%
Mazda 5
16 542 -97.0% 362 7,377 -95.1%
26,109 29,938 -12.8% 199,378 216,090 -7.7%

The relatively sudden reliance upon crossovers at Mazda USA isn’t all down to the CX sub-brand’s surge. In August, for example, Mazda sold 13,983 CX-3s, CX-5s, and CX-9s, a 1,483 year-over-year improvement. But during the same year-over-year period, Mazda lost nearly 4,800 sales from the Mazda 3, Mazda 6, and the MX-5 Miata, all of which recorded sharp U.S. sales declines.

After the 3, 6, and MX-5 combined for a 7-percent sales increase in calendar year 2015 — the car division’s total volume fell 1 percent because of the Mazda 2’s disappearance — plunging car sales have become the norm at Mazda this year.

The midsize Mazda 6 is struggling as a low-tier player in a struggling segment, and lower-tier players inevitably suffer first and worst. Mazda 6 sales are down 25 percent this year.

Despite a refresh and some added tech for model year 2017, it’s unlikely that the oft-rejected Mazda 3, no matter how spectacularly it drives, can quickly rebound from 2016’s discouraging results. Mazda 3 sales are down 10 percent this year.

“We’re hoping it will rebound with a revised pricing structure, more features and some cool, new technology like G-Vectoring Control,” Mazda spokesperson Jacob Brown says of the 3. “But, trends being what they are, customers seem to prefer CUVs at the moment, so we’re building some really great vehicles that cater to those needs and wants.”

Sales of the Mazda MX-5 Miata were on the upswing through the first-half of 2016, doubling through June. But in the two-seat roadster world, with time comes decreased demand. The MX-5 is no longer enjoying pent-up demand, and July/August volume tumbled 31 percent, a 770-unit loss in concert with 940 additional sales of its Italian platform partner, the Fiat 124 Spider. Four percent of Mazda USA volume is Miata-generated.

On the crossover side of the ledger, consistently improving sales of the Mazda CX-5, the brand’s best seller in the United States in 35 of the last 43 months, make it America’s 20th-best-selling SUV/crossover.

Yet the CX-5 is the sole source of real strength in Mazda’s crossover lineup. Sales of the hugely attractive Mazda CX-9 are beginning to increase as the second-generation CX-9 comes on stream, but Mazda has limited capacity for the CX-9. Globally, Mazda expects to sell 50,000 units per year, 80 percent of which will find homes in North America. These production levels automatically make the CX-9 a small player in a segment where the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, and Nissan Pathfinder will combine for more than 350,000 sales this year. Mazda is nevertheless pleased with the new CX-9’s start.

2016 Mazda CX-5, Image: Mazda

“We’re starting to see people coming in both from mainstream automakers as well as luxury automakers,” Mazda spokesperson Jacob Brown told TTAC yesterday. “It’s doing exactly what it needed to do, and it’s doing it at a price point where few offer the craftsmanship and design that CX-9 offers.”

More bewildering are oddly poor results from the Mazda CX-3. Seven subcompact crossovers outsell the CX-3, five sell more than three times as often, three sell more than four times as often. Year-to-date, the CX-3 is outselling the Mini Countryman and Fiat 500X, but it earns just 4 percent market share in a 10-vehicle category. With nearly 4,800 CX-3s in stock, according to, Mazda has roughly three months of supply. But all of the CX-3’s driver’s appeal seems lost on U.S. consumers. CX-3 sales are almost as numerous in Canada, a much smaller market in which Mazda’s market share is twice as strong.

Helped along by an unfortunate decrease in car volume, Mazda hit Masahiro Moro’s 50-percent crossover target much sooner than expected. But there’s room for that figure to climb higher — much higher — in relatively short order.

With no immediate plans to bring the CX-4 to North America, the CX-3 could become the central figure in any plan to push the CX division forward. For now, both in the U.S. and globally, the CX-3 is not considered by Mazda to be among its key vehicles. “However, it is anticipated that CX-3 will become a core model soon, as it is selling exceptionally well in Europe and the ASEAN markets, and trends appear to continue that momentum,” Brown says. “We are priced alongside competitors, and our product is more than competitive.”

More than competitive, indeed. But at the moment, American consumers either disagree or have failed to notice.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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71 Comments on “Even Mazda Is Now Selling More Crossovers Than Cars, But Overall Mazda Sales Are Still Down...”

  • avatar

    I just bought a 2016 Mazda6 Sport for my girlfriend’s sisters husband am I completely understand why the sales are so low. Snappy and quick car, yes. But it’s built like a 2002 Altima. And that stupid floating Center screen washes out and any sunlight whatsoever

    • 0 avatar

      Hmm, so it’s built better than a 2016 Altima then! Clearly “build quality” doesn’t affect sales very much as those are flying off the lots.

      I’m a 34 year old male who test drove a bunch of CUVs and midsize cars when I was in the market. I asked to drive them on bumpy roads and highways to check noise levels, ride quality, and handling. The salespeople at EVERY dealer, even guys my age, never *once* talked about how each car drove. They spent over half of each test drive talking about the features on the infotainment stack. So if people are flummoxed why sporty-driving sedans aren’t selling well, it’s because clearly it’s not what the average consumer is focusing on. Either they don’t expect it in a certain car class, or they just spend most of their time in stop and go traffic like I do.

      • 0 avatar

        On my test drives of newer “comfy” sedans last weekend, I took them down a concrete slab divided 45mph road close to the dealer (and a road I commute down every day) to really check how well they rode.

        ’14 Old w body Impala “Limited” was overall the best at swallowing up larger imperfections owing to a sloppy and soft suspension, but also felt kind of tired at 41k rental miles on the clock, I think it’s just the old platform that lacks structural rigidity.

        ’16 Charger SXT was also a top contender, you felt the bumps more than the W body but the car just felt really solid

        ’16 Impala LT (40k, fleet) felt much more controlled and much more body rigidity than the old W, but also allowed much more to be transmitted from the road. I think this one was hampered by the cheap Firestone Firehawk tires that the dealer installed. Noisy and added to the lack of compliance.

        ’15 Taurus SEL I had high hopes for this one, but was surprised at how jarring it was over certain shapes of bumps. Some of the concrete slabs have patches between them that are basically mini speed bumps, as well as others that are like shallow lane-wide depressions sometimes. The Taurus did the worst here.

        Honestly the ’12 Camry SE that I drove over there for the test drive I’d place above the ’16 Impala on cheap tires and below the Charger in overall compliance and ride comfort.

        • 0 avatar

          The Impala Limited is more car for the money the most out there would like to admit.

          • 0 avatar

            W! W! W!

          • 0 avatar

            Yep, the Impala was stickered at $12,600 (before negotiations), they were asking $15,5k for the Taurus, the ’16 Impala V6 listed for $19,9k, and the ’16 Charger SXT (15k miles) listed for $25k. To be fair the dodge guy implied to me that they’d be able to let the charger go for $20k plus tax.

            Taurus had the best trunk shape/space and heated leather seats which smelled nice, but shapewise were rather odd, with too short of cushions. The overall ergonomics of the Taurus are really weird and need a lot of getting used to, visibility out the back is horrendous. Rear seat room is passable at best, seatback is strangely upright. Engine/transmission were well paired and had plenty of power (290+ 3.5 V6). I was actually very hopeful for the Taurus, but the ergonomics and poor ride kill it for me. wide center console did not bother me quite as much as I had expected.

            ’16 Impala had some of that high-riding seating position, but more comfortable seats. Excellent engine/transmission pairing with quick reactions. The W body with the same motor has super tall gears so it feels slower even though it’s a lighter car with the same engine. Great trunk space, not quite as tall as the Taurus’ but plenty long and wide. Good rear legroom.

            Loved the Charger 8spd and 3.6L engine, and the ride/handling. Seat cloth was awful and seat back was really stiff and shaped like a plank. Worst trunk room/access out of all tested cars. Trunk liner was already coming off (warranty work?). Decent rear space.

            Overall there wasn’t an ‘aha’ moment when I found the just right Goldilocks car. The following morning as part of my morning craigslist browsing with coffee ritual I just so happened upon the ’96 Lexus ES300 that I ended up buying three hours later. The end. LOL

        • 0 avatar

          This was very close to my impressions a few years ago as well.

          I think I’m a little more red mist than you so I wasn’t really looking for a “mega-cloud” experience, but the Charger/300 had the best ride-handling balance. Second was the Regal (but it is stuck with those lame 4-cylinders). Genesis R-Spec was third. Everything else was a big pile of “Meh”.I have a soft spot for GM, but I think the Super Epsilon Impala is very underwhelming.

  • avatar

    A nation of 200,000,000 drivers can’t be bothered to buy 1,000 Miatas a month?

    An American shame.

    • 0 avatar

      Vogo…I agree.
      With all of the shameful things we have done as a country, our Mazda purchases are poor enough to warrant a plague from god.

      But Mazda isn’t helping in many ways.
      The Cx3 needs a boot…although it is pretty looking.
      The 6 needs a turbo…or bring back the 6 cyl.
      All the cars need a titch more insulation underneath and rubber round the windows.

      However…there is light over the horizon. I myself look forward to the CX9 test. If I were to replace my MKS in a few years…the CX9 would be right up there as the next old man car.

      For some reason, a lot of the retired old and moldy around FL are releasing their CX9s. You’d be surprised how many are purchasing or leasing these and that ridiculous Explorer.

      In past years, us old bastards would learn to dress poorly, stare embarrassing at young women, bitch about paying school taxes when we don’t have kids anymore…and drive large cars.
      Well…everything still is as before only our big cars are now SUVs and Minivans.

    • 0 avatar


  • avatar

    Maybe they should have built a mid sized truck…

  • avatar

    Every single Mazda is in the running as the best car in its respective class. They all look pretty great. There are some quibbles around ergonomics and some other things. Still, their low sales is inexplicable.

    • 0 avatar

      Poor consumer awareness
      Weak dealerships
      Reputation as rust buckets
      Image focused on taking Pontiac’s place
      Mediocre resale value
      Insufficient color choices

      • 0 avatar
        Shockrave Flash Has Crashed

        Weak dealerships – They are dumps and the service department is horrible.

        Insufficient color choices – That gorgeous sheet metal and 50 shades of gray. They need some snazzy colors. It makes people feel good, even if they choose the boring color. I think my daughter chose her Mazda two because of that lime green color.

    • 0 avatar

      “Still, their low sales is inexplicable.”

      Inexplicable? It’s not hard to figure out why. How much demand is there for a car that get old real quick getting in and out of, has tires that while allowing one to carve corners, beat you up most of the time, has an interior that is just too small? The car is just too small for anyone over 5’8″ long-term.

      We owned a 2007 MX5 for two years, and while it was a blast driving around suburbia, the highway killed me. I’m 5’10” 185-190 lbs, and although I fit fine, the car did get claustrophobic and the engine heat roasted my legs and feet, forcing use of A/C even with the top down for relief.

      My left knee thanked me profusely when I sold it and bought my 2012 Impala.

      • 0 avatar

        Definitely not inexplicable. Dealerships are few and far between compared to rivals. The vehicles drive well, but they’re not as refined as the competition. The interiors are small and full of cheap materials. NVH lags behind the competition.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m 6′-0″ and I have no problems in my 2012 MX-5. It rides firmer than yours did (assuming stock suspension) since they firmed it up in 2009 and I’ve got the even firmer sport suspension. And I love it on the highways – even though it’s light I’m not blown around – it feels firmly planted. And while rough pavement can be harsh, it doesn’t feel too objectionable.

        The only time I have trouble getting in and out is if I can’t open the door as wide as I would like. Otherwise I just pop right out. I suppose if I was alot older than my 61 years it could be harder.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “the best car in its respective class”

      ….for a specific subset of buyer. You left that out and it’s a huge point. Mazda’s strengths–driving engagement, distinctive styling, above average interior materials (recently anyway) do not have broad appeal, especially when Ford, Chevy, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan can slam them on volume and incentives, which does. Combine that with driving characteristics some people actively do not want (road noise, stiffer ride), a weak dealer network, and a lack of brand recognition born from years of niche status and their lack of sales is not at all surprising.

      That said, I like Mazda and hope they can survive and remain profitable at niche level. The 3 is a brilliant car if you don’t spend time on the freeway or need a backseat. The 6 looks great inside and out. The Miata is an icon. The CX5 is a CUV.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe, just MAYBE they arent the best in the class?

  • avatar

    When I was looking for a newer car some time ago, I did consider Mazda until I tested the Mazda 3/6.

    The 3 was decent but didn’t like the noise, the cheap interior and lousy ergonomics. The 6 was similar but more expensive and much less roomy.

    Zoom Zoom can only get the Mazda cars so far as practicality becomes reality when you’re using the car as a daily commuter.

    • 0 avatar

      I can still remember when the Mazda 6 was coming out and I was looking for a new car. I was very interested because I liked the styling and the interior, but I read an article about the car and the engineers were talking about how they used thinner glass to save weight.

      I remember scratching the car off of my list and thinking these guys just don’t get it.

    • 0 avatar

      How was the 6 less roomy than the 3?

      At jef:
      Glass, plastic, metal, Mazdas pretty good about “thinning” everything to save mone….WEIGHT, of course this doesnt always reflect on the price tag.

    • 0 avatar
      Shockrave Flash Has Crashed

      What’s with that screen sticking out of the dash like that on the 3?

      • 0 avatar

        The screen is where screen should be – high up enough to minimize the refocusing your eyes have to do, but low enough that the top of the screen is still lower than the front edge of the cowl from the driver’s point of view.

        The difference is that most cars extend the dashboard over the screen. Mazda went for a more open feel instead and kept the dash low. It works for me. And sure, in a luxury car it might disappear into the dash but only when you’re not in the car so what’s the point?

  • avatar

    I think Mazda’s best bet is to be acquired by Toyota. They can be their performance division. They already have a joint project with the BRZ and the 86. Mazda doesn’t even have a a V-6 engine in its stable of engines and they had to put a turbocharger into its new CX-9.

    I owned a 2002 Millenia S for almost six years, totally reliable with 135,000 miles on it when I sold it. One ball joint went at 93,000 miles. They stopped making them. I considered the Mazda 6 but it was too noisy, ended up with a Crosstour which I love which I purchased at a huge discount.

    I am very interested in the new Miata as a second car.

  • avatar

    Sorry, mixed up my car manufacturers. BRZ is a Subaru of course.

  • avatar

    The only reason I got the 2013 Escape over the CX5 was the engine.
    They seemed equal in every respect, with the CX5 looking better.
    But I just don’t like an engine taxed when heavier duty called for.
    The 2.0 turbo in the Escape made the call an easier one.

    But I still pine for my 09 6S with the wonderful 6 cyl. I get to drive it when I visit my son in Austin…and it is just one fun, quick car. Noisy but solid.
    And our 05 Orange 3S in Florida is still the fav of one kid and my wife. Both just adore it and prefer to drive it over many of our other cars.

    To me, Mazda leads in design and style. And their SkyActiv is great….in light cars. With the turbo now, the line should get some lift.

    I just need to check out the CX9 to make sure that engine can handle whatever extra power is called for.

    • 0 avatar

      I just bought a 2017 Escape 2.0 in July and one of the bigger reasons I didn’t get the CX-5 was even the larger 2.5L felt slow to me. And I thought the Mazda was the best looking in it’s class. I also didn’t like the tiny sunroof and the odd feeling floor mounted gas pedal in the Mazda.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I was at the Hiroshima plant recently and I found the tour to be rather … dated. For example, they showed a short film and all the cars in it were the 2009-2012 generations. Nothing about the new products they are offering. And they still clung tight to “Zoom-Zoom.” There was no Q&A session for me to ask why Zoom-Zoom still applied for a company making no cars with over 200hp. (CX9 notwithstanding)

    Anyway, it’s definitely worth the visit if you are in Hiroshima for more than a day (if not, go to the bombing memorial and forget about anything else). Watching the assembly line was mesmerizing – I could have stood there all day. The line I saw makes the CX-3 (I think, I can’t tell the difference between the 3 and 5 without a badge) the Miata and the 124 Spider.
    Something that struck me as odd was that they don’t paint the whole windshield surround on the Miata/124. They go up the A pillars and stop without spraying color across. It’s obviously primed but I would think not painting it would add to the chances of corrosion – and we all know what people think about Mazda and rust…

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    VW and Mazda have the same tiny US market share and sales volume at this point.

    VW is down 13% with a scandal. Mazda is down 7.7% without one.

    VW has a (vaporous) plan to overhaul their lineup. Mazda has crickets.

    • 0 avatar

      No plan to overhaul their lineup? They just finished getting all their vehicles updated, and spy shots of the next CX-5 are already making the rounds. Rumor has it that it’s on a new platform. Some say it will get new engines, but I don’t believe it. (I don’t think they’ll offer new engines until SkyActiv II is released.)

      I expect once the new CX-5 is out, then they’ll update the 6, and it will be a massive facepalm if they don’t put the 2.5 turbo in there. (They’ve already said it fits, and the 6 is designed for 300+ lb-ft in the diesel.)

  • avatar

    “They go up the A pillars and stop without spraying color across. It’s obviously primed but I would think not painting it would add to the chances of corrosion – and we all know what people think about Mazda and rust…”

    All car companies do this to a degree, take the bed off your truck and you will see that the lower back of the cab and the metal edge of the truck bed are not painted, sure they are primed and everything else but not painted 100% like the rest of the vehicle.

    The same goes for some metal parts of other vehicles that are covered with plastic body trim so the customer does not see that, firewalls and hood undersides on low price models are also examples of this, not to mention the undersides of the trunk lids.

  • avatar

    Everyone knew that the CX3 was going to displace the 3, with a few incremental sales.

    The potential customer knows that Mazda’s are not competitive in whatever segment. It seems Mazda is in denial regarding their lack of competitiveness.

    In the meantime everyone else is “nibbling” at Mazda’s lunch.

  • avatar

    Rotary, anyone?
    Here are my suggestions for Mazda:

    Mazda RX-7
    Rotary powered Miata
    Mazda RX-9 (I have kids, ya know)
    Mazda2 – The good looking Mazda version, not the Toyota (I wanted to buy the Scion, but the dealer was pushing me towards an automatic model–opted for a Mazda5 which is now the best decision I ever made)
    Turbo Mazda 6

    If you have negative comments, but have not owned or driven a rotary, then pffthththhththtt!

  • avatar

    I’m a 4 time owner (2 used 2 new) and to me the biggest frustration was the dealers. The buying experience was the worst, but service not so bad. My cars were reliable and did not rust. I don’t think the interior materials were bad, but I think sometimes people compare them with cars in a higher price range. Interior noise was an issue, and personally I would have given up a little bit of zoom-zoom for a tad more ride comfort. But I liked that they cars fit my price range and they weren’t so common around town. I like the style direction and interior style of the CX-9, but I don’t need a big vehicle like that. I’m a past Mazda3 owner (06), but the current model doesn’t quite light my fire, and the local dealer never has the trim/color package that I would want. I was hoping that with VW’s problems, Mazda could go after them more, but I dunno. I first bought a Mazda in the early 2000’s when all my friends had VW’s, and I liked VW’s, but wanted an engaged driver experience with some reasonable reliability. So to me Mazda was a sensible alternative and I still stand by that decision, especially in light of all the disasters my VW-owner acquaintances had.

  • avatar

    I have owned an ’89 Civic Si, ’98 MB – E, 02′ Honda (in Asia), ’08 Accord and ’13 Mazda 5. I also drive my relatives’ 4 German makes, as well as Subaru and Toyota. I think Mazda doesn’t gain much ground is because they, unlike BMW, sticks to their zoom-zoom without improving daily buggaboos like wind and tire noise, average materials, average fit and quality, average reliability, average fuel economy. Not to mention their price is not that attractive (relative to Hyundai and Kia). They need to change their mindset and subscribe to the notion that the things I mention above, do matter a lot more to customers than they’d like to think. If they want to go after the zoom-zoom crowd, that’s fine, but that market segment is smaller than the car-is-an-appliance crowd.

  • avatar

    I live in Canada so my experience might be a bit different from you guys.
    I just test drove an MX 5 and a Toyota 86 back to back.
    I had more fun driving the little roadster, but I generally had a better experience at the Toyota dealership.
    Mazda gave the the feeling that they know the MX 5 is so good they are unwilling to make any human effort to sell it.
    The 5% leasing rate doesn’t help either.

  • avatar

    Mazda didn’t get the note about our crumbling roads and infrastructure. Tightly wound suspensions are simply seen as “this car rides bad” by the majority of consumers.

  • avatar

    I loved my old Protege5. I had that car 11 years and rust wasn’t an issue until the very end, even with MN’s salty winter roads. It was a little loud, underpowered, and chewed through tires like crazy (thanks to the caster that gives that trademark Mazda handling). But I loved that car. Unfortunately, when I was looking for a replacement, Mazda’s compacts had terrible mpg (it was just before SkyActiv arrived) and with a 150 mile roundtrip daily commute, Mazda lost a repeat customer. Now it’s time to replace my Elantra GT and I’m again looking for something with AWD. I like the CX-3, but it is way too cramped and the fuel economy isn’t any better than the larger CX-5. If they had made the CX-3 slightly bigger, like the HR-V, it would have been the perfect CUV for me.

  • avatar

    ‘Mazda customer loyalty is poor. The company’s renewed focus on customer satisfaction does not result in overnight change.’

    After my ownership experiences with a ’08 CX-9, I’m about to contribute more to that fact. Excessive wind noise, corrosion, crappy brakes and a very fragile interior (numerous broken bits) will make me consider anything else.

  • avatar

    I’m one of their customers that refused to buy another one, and with good reason. The first new car I bought on my own was an ’07 Mazda 3 Grand Touring that gave me nothing but trouble: interior door panels that were improperly assembled at the factory and would regularly pull free from the exterior door shell, shocks that leaked consistently and needed replacement every 30K miles; it consumed tires and brakes as though it were a sports car; the powertrain control module failed unexpectedly at 50K miles, the auto a/c struggled to keep the interior on hot days (in NYC!), and a sunroof that would escape its track and jam, which was replaced 3 times before it was realized that the sunroof assembly was improperly installed at the factory and was fully replaced at the 4th repair attempt. I could go on, if I’d only saved all of the repair paperwork. After 7 years and 100K, I got tired of feeling as though I was driving on borrowed time, waiting for another component to break; and all this from a supposed economy car! I returned to Honda and never looked back. To top it off, the 3 also managed to get poorer fuel economy (20/28) than my Accord V6 (21/34) that has 120+ more horsepower. It was a nice car to drive, as far as handling was concerned, but that’s it.

    • 0 avatar

      To be fair, tires and brakes could be a sign of driving habits more than the cars fault.

      The rest I understand, though the poor fuel economy is more than likely Mazdas sporty gear ratios.

      • 0 avatar

        Tires, brakes and brakes are dependent on both the quality of the components and how the vehicle is driven. MPG is dependent on both the basic design choices of the vehicle and how it is driven. The common denominator is how it is driven so it may be the person behind the wheel that makes it worse than it could be.

        • 0 avatar

          Sounds like he may have got a lemon. I would never look at another Mazda if I were him.

          But my experience has been good. Still only 84k miles on my ’04 Mazda3 now, but it’s hard to imagine that I would ever wear out the front brake pads. At the rate they’re going, they should make 300k. The back ones will probably need to be replaced by 150k though.

          8.0L/100km (29.4 usmpg) overall since new. Best tank of 6.2 (37.9) driving through the mountains at an average speed of about 60 mph. Worst tank of 10.9 (21.6) during all city driving in January.

  • avatar

    I guess you could lump my family into the poor retention statistic. We bought an ’89 MPV (used) that we enjoyed very much, our next vehicle was the very same body style MPV, but a loaded final-year 4wd ’98. After that Mazda switched the MPV to a generic fwd/transverse platform of perfectly mediocre vans, and seemingly abandoned the no-nonsense concept of utility to Honda/Toyota in pursuit of sportiness (in terms of dynamics, styling, etc). The current CX9 basically stands for everything I dislike about Mazda. People forget that Mazda once made some very durable and utilitarian vehicles like the pre-ranger B series.

  • avatar

    Just drove a Mazda6 diesel for a week while on vacation. Liked the engine and transmission, though found the interior and build quality to be disappointing. Seemingly little things like the placement of the center console controls, the clock, and the gauges/LCD/USB ports drove me crazy. At one point, my wife commented that the engine was better than our previous rental (a diesel Mercedes) but that she didn’t like the car.

    Was considering a 3 hatchback for our next car, though based on our experience with the 6, I think it’s going to be a tough sell. And yes, I’m surprised about the depreciation curve on these cars.

  • avatar

    I’m just going to ump in my own reasons for avoiding Mazda which may or may not apply to the common folk:

    1. See that 2003 Protege in the parking lot? Look at all that rust!
    2. Thin metal/plastic/glass are big nonos, Americans love thick materials!
    3. Stiff suspension + Bad Roads = Aching body when you’re at work
    4. First-second gen Mazda 3/6s are beginning to arrive in the junkyard
    5. A Honda Accord is slightly cheaper, “sporty”, and a better car overall.
    6. Recent rust recalls arent helping their reputation.
    7. “I cant fit my groceries in this thing!”

  • avatar

    …i’m confused: if the CX-3 is a tippytoe 2 in outdoorwear, and the CX-5 is a tippytoe 3 in outdoorwear, what’s the CX-4?..

  • avatar

    Maybe part of the retention with customer retention is that they have nothing for customers to move “up” to. People get older, earn more, and want nicer cars. For a Toyota driver, that means looking at a Lexus, or at least an Avalon. For a Mazda driver, that means looking at a German car, most likely. Mazda makes great mainstream cars, but no one aspires to own a mainstream car anymore.

  • avatar

    How should the cars they manufacture for other brands (iA, Fiata) be counted? Since Mazda builds them, certainly they get some of the proceeds.

    I would also be interested in each model’s market share for its segment. Since Mazda doesn’t sell trucks, I assume it has a huge impact on their overall market share. So if the CX-3 has 4% of the US subcompact CUV market, is that more or less than how the rest of their vehicles do in their segments? Ignoring the segments they don’t compete in, what is Mazda’s market share?

  • avatar

    I bought a Mazda 3s Touring last year based on a short test drive. Over the last year, I’ve come to hate it during my 80 minutes a day of commuting. It’s fun to drive in the neighborhood, but it’s horribly uncomfortable on the highway. Rather than live with it for 5 years, I took a bath and unloaded it on a CPO BMW X1 xDrive28i. I bought the Mazda because it drove like a budget BMW- I underestimated where the corners were cut for it to do so. I’ve paid the price for my bad decision, but I’m much happier overall now. Mazda, I wish you well, but if you want to creep your prices up into entry-lux, you’d better pay some attention to the intangibles too. I doubt I’m the only one who you convinced to give your brand a try but were unable to keep.

  • avatar

    I am currently biased in favor of Mazdas. I owned a 2009 MX-5/Miata, currently own a 2016 CX-5, a 2017 CX-3, and I have a 2017 6 on order to hopefully arrive soon (my choice of color threw Mazda for a loop…not everybody wants Mazda proprietary red, gray/silver gray/machine gray/grey, or black all with black interiors). As a repeat customer, I guess I am the exception rather than the rule. Let’s hope for Mazda’s sake there will be many more folks, in the not too distant future, who return as satisfied customers. And on a side note, perspective, I think, is the reason for my repeat business.

  • avatar

    I’m biased for Mazda as well. I bought a Mazda 6 last year. My wife mostly drives it as I work from home and average about 5,000 miles annually driving my Mazda 3 Hatch with MT. Prior to that we had a Protege, which was a very good car, but rusted out badly before getting rid of it. My 2009 Mazda does not suffer the same problem so I’m surprised to hear people calling them rust buckets. I live in New England and encounter plenty of salt on the roadways.

  • avatar

    Price has got be part of the problem.

    I was reading the latest Car and Driver and they had a review for the 3 and it stickered at like $29,000.

    An Audi A3 MSRP is like $31k.

    Seems sky high to me for Mazda’s entry level car.

  • avatar

    The 3 is due for an update…
    The 6 is due for an update…
    Neither one has anything resembling performance. Not even a sport package is offered.
    The 6 dash looks like something a 70 year old Camry owner would enjoy.
    Noise issues are famous on the 6.
    The CX-5 is due for an update…
    The CX-4 would probably do great in the US, but Mazda is not interested in giving the US any sort of interesting vehicles, trim level, powertrains, etc.

    Other than an interesting MX-5, Mazda isn’t doing anything interesting in the US.

    Being an ’05 6 owner I’ve seen enough complaints on the current car that I’d have to find one helluva deal before I’d buy one. Then again, not sure I’d want another Mazda… Seat fabrics were garbage. Interior assembly is nearly all push clips. Mazda didn’t rust-proof wheel wells, and well, I’ve fought rust for 3 years. Six months ago the headliner must have decided ‘I’m done’. It just started dropping in numerous places. Out of the blue the passenger side fr door window stopped working from the driver’s control. Two weeks ago the driver’s rear door window stopped working from its own control. Headlights started hazing. NEVER used any sort of chemical cleaner on them. Driver’s side apparently has a leaking seal- cold water when washing car is causing fogging. Eleven years and 112,000 miles and it’s falling apart. And I’m the guy everyone makes fun of because I take care of my car better than some do their children. Previous car was a ’92 Integra that aged FAR better in my 15 years and 199,000 miles with it.

    • 0 avatar

      p.s. Mazda’s actions have done the one thing they cannot afford to do: Alienate and push away their existing customers. If they’re not going to offer any ‘Zoom Zoom’, people will go elsewhere for it.

  • avatar

    The correct title would be “Mazda sold less cars than crossovers”. Mazda was the Pontiac division of FMC but much better. Both were gone during Great Recession. In 2014 my choice for the new car boiled down to Mazda6 GT and Fusion Titanium. I test drove both back to back – Ford was a much more refined and powerful for the almost the same money. It just felt as a premium German sports sedan compared with Mazda. The problem with Mazda is that they asking too much for their cars and do not have engines to compete with big guys. BTW I would also compare Mazda6 to the first gen Acura TSX except Acura was a better car. Cannot compare Mazda6 to Audi though.

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